TULSA, OK – [January 16, 2014] – Influenza has claimed the life of a child from Tulsa County, the Tulsa Health Department announced today.
“This death is a somber reminder of the danger flu poses to children,” said Tulsa Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart. “The loss of a child is always tragic and we extend our sympathies to the family.”
This is the first flu-related death reported in a child younger than 18 in Oklahoma this flu season. Thus far, 12 Oklahomans have died from influenza this flu season.
“The best way to protect children from the serious consequences of influenza is to get them vaccinated,” said Dart. “Vaccination is especially important for children with an underlying medical condition like asthma, a neurological or neurodevelopmental disease, or immune suppression. Even previously healthy children can become seriously ill if they get the flu.”
Individuals who receive the flu vaccine not only protect themselves but also those around them, including babies too young to receive a vaccination.
THD currently has flu vaccine available for over the age of six months on a walk-in basis Mondays through Thursdays 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Fridays 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the following Tulsa Health Department locations:
James O. Goodwin Health Center located at 5051 S. 129th E. Avenue, Tulsa, OK
Central Regional Health Center located at 315 S. Utica, Tulsa, OK
North Regional Health and Wellness Center located at 5635 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Tulsa, OK
The flu vaccine is also offered at the following locations:
Bixby Health Center
8120 E. 126th Street
Bixby, OK 74008
Call (918) 369-3155 for clinic dates and times
Collinsville Health Center
1201 W. Center
Collinsville, OK 74021
Call (918) 596-8650 for clinic dates and times
Sand Springs Health Center
306 E. Broadway
Sand Springs, OK 74063
Call (918) 591-6100 for clinic dates and times
An annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone six months and older. Vaccination is especially important for those persons at high risk from flu complications including people 50 years of age and older, young children, persons with chronic lung disease (such as asthma and COPD), diabetes (type 1 and 2), heart disease, neurologic conditions, other long-term health conditions, and pregnant women.
Children between the ages of six months and eight years who have not previously received a flu vaccination will need a booster dose approximately one month after the first dose of vaccine.
Until children at high medical risk are vaccinated against flu, parents should consider limiting their child’s potential exposure to influenza by avoiding public places such as malls or theaters and calling ahead when visiting with family and friends to make sure no one has flu-like symptoms. Infants less than six months old cannot receive the flu vaccination, so it is especially important to decrease their access to the public during the height of the flu season. Household members and caregivers of infants less than six months old should receive the influenza vaccine to add a ring of protection around these vulnerable children.
Symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
THD cautions parents not to send children to school who have fever and respiratory symptoms. Children with flu-like symptoms should be kept out of school until fever is gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-lowering medications.
Parents should seek immediate medical care for a child that has trouble breathing; has purple or blue discoloration of the lips; is vomiting and unable to keep liquids down; has signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination or in infants, a lack of tears when they cry; has seizures; or is less responsive than normal or becomes confused.
In addition to getting your flu shot, the Tulsa Health Department reminds you to follow these prevention tips:
Frequent hand washing using soap and water, or alcohol-based products such as hand gels when hands are not visibly soiled.
Make “respiratory hygiene” a habit, including use of tissues to cover coughs and sneezes, then disposing of them and washing hands at once. When tissues are not readily available, use your sleeve, never your hands.
Stay home from work, school, and other public places if you are ill.
Please click here or call the Tulsa Health Department at 918-582-WELL (9355) for more information about flu vaccine, including cost information. Visit www.health.ok.gov for Oklahoma flu updates posted every Thursday.